Reply by clin

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Posted on Automation. Taking jobs aways from the skilled

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1072 posts in 1554 days

#1 posted 02-18-2017 04:54 AM

Im suddenly reminded of an anecdote often attributed to economist Milton Friedman. He was visiting a canal project in Asia. He inquired as to why workers were using picks and shovels instead of modern-day earthmoving equipment. The government official said “Because this is a jobs program.” Friedman then replied, “Then why not give them spoons instead of shovels?”

Since you are against modern-day equipment improving speed and efficiency because it costs workers their jobs I m going to assume then that in place of table saws and chop saws in your wood shop you give your workers hand saws. Instead of a planer, you give your workers scrub planes and smoothing planes. Instead of a jointer, you give your workers #7 jointer planes. Instead of a secretary writing emails and answering phone calls, you have a crew of people devoted to handwriting letters and mailing them. Instead of running to Home Depot in a truck to pick up plywood your workers use a horse and cart. If your answer is no, then youre just another self-righteous hypocrite.

- Logboy

Where did I ever say I was against automation? I’m simply pointing out what is happening and how it is getting worse. I never said anyone or any business was doing something enherantly wrong. In fact my whole point is they are doing what is right for them, even though collectively it is driving us all over a cliff.

But it’s the nature of business to work this way. I’m not suggesting any business should intentional operate less efficiently. There would be no point in individual businesses operating that way, as they will not be competitive.

As far as using spoons, that may make sense, IF there is nothing else the labor force could be doing. Historically, productivity improvements free up labor for other things. Though this can be disruptive for individuals, it’s proven better for society as a whole.

The problem that is developing is there won’t be anything for this surplus labor to do. That’s an unsustainably situation. There’s going to have to be a major paradigm shift in markets, labor, and the economy in general.

-- Clin

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